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Sprouted bread is a type of bread baked from whole grains that are allowed to germinate before they are processed. This differs from most common supermarket or traditional bakery breads made from either enriched or whole wheat flour, which are both made from wheat grains that have not sprouted. Proponents of sprouted bread claim that allowing grains to sprout increases the nutritional value of the bread.
Sprouting grains by allowing them to germinate is thought to significantly increase the amount of vitamins present in the final product. It also increases the likeliness that those vitamins can be readily absorbed by the body. The release of enzymes during the sprouting process essentially begins breaking down the grain and makes the sprouted bread easier to digest than other varieties.
While it is somewhat subjective whether or not sprouted bread is nutritionally superior to unsprouted whole wheat bread, it is most definitely more nutrient-dense than white bread made from enriched flower. Whole wheat flour is made from the entire wheat kernel, utilizing the germ, endosperm, and bran; this is the same kernel that sprouted bread is made from, but instead of facilitating germination the kernel is ground into flour. Therefore, the same vitamins and minerals should be present in whole wheat and sprouted bread, even though sprouted grain advocates claim that the sprouting process allows nutrients to be absorbed more effectively. Both are certainly more nutritionally beneficial than white bread, which is made only from the endosperm and therefore is significantly lower in vitamins and fiber.
Even though the nutritional quality of sprouted bread versus whole wheat bread may not be drastically different, sprouted bread is generally associated with a health- and earth-conscious diet and attitude. Sprouted grain breads are not produced on nearly as large a scale as unsprouted varieties, and do not usually contain preservatives or artificial flavors — which is why they are most often found in the freezer section of grocery stores. Unfortunately, this often means they are also more expensive that traditional supermarket loaves. Eating sprouted grain products is also associated with vegetarian or vegan diets because the grains can provide the complete proteins that can be more challenging to consume for people who do not eat meat.
The taste and texture of sprouted bread are definitely different than whole wheat and white bread. Sprouted grains impart a nutty, earthy flavor to the bread. Since the sprouted grains are technically not milled into flour, the resulting bread is more dense and chewy than bread baked from unsprouted grains.
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